Inside the Business of Sneakerbotting

A 'botter' explains how he snags sneakers before they sell out.
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Future Proof introduces you to the creators and entrepreneurs driving the new economy.

Botter Boy Nova, a YouTuber and sneaker fanatic, has had a lucrative year. With resale prices through the roof, his sneakerbot army has helped him score some highly sought-after shoes.

In today’s $60 billion global sneaker market, Botter Boy Nova found a way to capitalize even further. “The way I would describe my career is part-time botter, full time content creator” he told VICE News Tonight. “I show people on YouTube how I do it.”


In his instructional videos, Nova shares detailed how-to videos for those interested in using or purchasing their own bot. “[I’m] going to prioritize the websites that sell out” he says as he plans in preparation for a release, or “drop.”

This is, of course, highly controversial not just in the sneaker industry, but in the retail world as a whole. Sneaker bots have been tweaked to buy Playstation 5s and RTX 3080 graphics cards, which for the last few months have seen secondary market prices well over retail. Botters like Nova have figured out how to make money for themselves at the expense of people who aren't able to buy them because of botters and high demand in general.

“A bot is just a piece of software that automates the checkout process,” he said. “I have a few thousand tasks, and basically, one task is equal to one person trying to get the sneaker.”

On the other end of the technology spectrum, Danica Robinson is a thrifter who uses Depop as the middleperson between her artistry and her income. A classic reseller’s hub, the site is basically a typical square-scrolling social media feed for users to buy and sell clothing.

“I was just broke as hell” she said. “So, I flipped some things that were already in my closet and they sold, like, really, really fast. So, I was like, ‘wow, you can really make money off of thrifting.’”

After making some pocket cash through her hand-me-downs, Robinson recognized the opportunity to intersect her hobbies; styling, photography and thrifting.

However, Robinson’s business model became much greater than sifting through racks of vintage clothing. Understanding the need for an incomparable buying experience is what brought her success. 

“People are coming to your feed to not only buy your clothes, but also to, like, see how your pictures look,” she said. “I’m able to create and express myself, but also eat and pay my rent. So, I think when you can do all those things together it’s pretty amazing.”